PAGD falls like house of cards , Kashmir may mull new choices

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 09, 2024 IST

People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration –  was a strange sounding name for an alliance of various  Kashmiri parties , which claimed that they will fight until last for the restoration of Article 370 and  full-fledged statehood to J&K,

Arun Joshi

People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration –  was a strange sounding name for an alliance of various  Kashmiri parties , which claimed that they will fight until last for the restoration of Article 370 and  full-fledged statehood to J&K,  has collapsed like a house of cards . For a while  this alliance created ripples in the political   landscape of  Kashmir   soon after   its launch in October 2020, but now it has fallen flat .

The parties , particularly National Conference  of Abdullahs- Farooq Abdullah , and People’s  Democratic Party of Mehbooba Mufti, appeared to  have sunk their political rivalries for what they   called a larger cause of saving identity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir against the onslaught unleashed by the BJP-led government at the Centre that had abrogated Article 370 on August , 2019.

This was a new twist in the Kashmir politics as never before the mainstream parties had come together on a common platform, making a common cause. National Conference, the premier party of Kashmir founded in 1930s and the PDP born in the dying years of the last millennium – July 1999, had emerged as bitter rivals. PDP took birth to offer an alternative to National Conference, which it accused of nepotism corruption and dynastic rule and compromising the unique identity of Jammu and Kashmir. PDP and NC were strange bedfellows in the PAGD, as the alliance came to be known in its short form.

On Friday, a day after Thursday’s rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Srinagar, National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and minutes later PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, also a former chief minister, appeared before the media charging each other and their parties of playing spoilsport wrecking the alliance. Mehbooba Mufti charged the NC leadership of reducing the alliance to a joke, something which BJP and others had been talking about. She even accused NC of doing and hurting Kashmiris what Delhi and BJP couldn’t have done.

BJP’s UT president Ravinder Raina had been predicting defeat of the PAGD in the polls, claiming that the alliance would be wiped out in polls (Lok Sabha elections, because Assembly elections are nowhere in sight at the moment), but it did not take the PAGD to implode even before the announcement of the elections.

Apni Party chief Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, who had founded his party four years ago, had themed his rallies with a pronouncement that PAGD is dead and yet to be buried. He spoke in metaphors that the alliance, which essentially meant NC and PDP, had been responsible for two lakh death of youths, had again chosen a path of misleading the people. “PAGD,” he said was just a mask to hide their real faces for they were responsible for all the death and destruction in the Valley.

The self-engineered demise of PAGD has created two situations – one as to what will its erstwhile constituents will do, secondly, who will claim the space vacated by the alliance due to its fissures. it is inevitable that the situation is critical and neither side has any particular narrative to lure the voters. They have added to the dilemma of Kashmir, if not the NC and PDP, then to whom they vote. The NC and PDP have added to their trust deficit, advantage BJP, which is on; loud nine after a highly successful rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wherein he joined the vison of developed J&K with developed India, “Visit Jammu and Kashmir, Visit Bharat.”.

BJP has a point that it can exploit to its advantage provided its local leadership shows competence and confidence – so far it has been a failure in generating narration of inclusiveness . It had been  also been scared to talk of  the benefits of the abrogation of Article 370. Now it has a new opening  to venture  among the masses.

There is a regional alternative available . Though Apni Party is only four-year old- it completed its four-years of its foundation on March 8, 2024 , but it has a narrative of “Kashmiris destiny inextricably linked to India .” “We were destined  to be with India in 1947 and today also, despite Delhi having hurled many insults and assaults, it only can heal our wounds,” Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari has been repeating it time and again since the inception of his party.

 The party has been successful in extracting concessions from the Centre for the land of Kashmir, and jobs in J&K for the natives only. This is where it has tremendous chance of stepping in Kashmir’s political landscape  in an if way. It is widening its footprints , but now if it displays a capacity , it can take a leap jump. 

But Kashmiris  will have to find out where they stand . Coming Lok Sabha polls may show which side they should go ? The question is about the route  not about the goal post , as that is known- India and india only.

Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)


Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com

 

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People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration –  was a strange sounding name for an alliance of various  Kashmiri parties , which claimed that they will fight until last for the restoration of Article 370 and  full-fledged statehood to J&K,
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